Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CNN exposé: NCAA athletes read like children

This expose by CNN goes to show that sports socialism starts before the collegiate level. We subsidize, through our tax dollars, a sham system of "education" that promotes star athletes from elementary to high school to college who barely read at the level of children:

Based on data from those requests and dozens of interviews, a CNN investigation revealed that most schools have between 7% and 18% of revenue sport athletes who are reading at an elementary school level. Some had even higher percentages of below-threshold athletes.

According to those academic experts, the threshold for being college-literate is a score of 400 on the SAT critical reading or writing test. On the ACT, that threshold is 16.

Many student-athletes scored in the 200s and 300s on the SAT critical reading test -- a threshold that experts told us was an elementary reading level and too low for college classes. The lowest score possible on that part of the SAT is 200, and the national average is 500.

On the ACT, we found some students scoring in the single digits, when the highest possible score is 36 and the national average is 20. In most cases, the team average ACT reading score was in the high teens.

"It is in many ways immoral for the university to even admit that student," said Dr. Richard M. Southall, director of the College Sport Research Institute and a professor at the University of South Carolina.

Immoral, he says. Gee, ya think?

Yeah, but they get the best tutors to help them! said one of my sports-crazy friends. Even so:

Former and current academic advisers, tutors and professors say it's nearly impossible to jump from an elementary to a college reading level while juggling a hectic schedule as an NCAA athlete. They say the NCAA graduation rates are flawed because they don't reflect when a student is being helped too much by academic support.

"They're pushing them through," said Billy Hawkins, an associate professor and athlete mentor at the University of Georgia.

"They're graduating them. UGA is graduating No. 2 in the SEC, so they're able to graduate athletes, but have they learned anything? Are they productive citizens now? That's a thing I worry about. To get a degree is one thing, to be functional with that degree is totally different."

This immoral betrayal of student-athletes (most of whom won't play professional sports) and the ideals of higher education is all so that we have something to do on a Sunday, can enjoy the bowl games and hoopla, listen to the never-ending arguments on talk radio, and catch the highlights on ESPN before bedtime.

As I said before, the NCAA is a kabuki dance of amateur athletics. Everybody knows it's a lie, yet we still love it; we pretend it has something to do with the quality of a college or university, and by extension -- with the quality of the fans, I mean, us.  (Even queerer are the millions of college sports fans who never attended their favorite college, or any college at all for that matter.)

Even more galling, every halfway honest sports fan knows there is an inverse relationship at work here: the better the college's team, the dumber the student-athletes.  

It's so, so pathetic.  Sports socialism and sports craziness have spoiled America -- and sports. There is nothing else that unites us anymore.

By Sara Ganim
January 7, 2014 | CNN

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